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Sending The Dagger 8B+/V14 and lots more in Font
Long time has passed since my last blog post. I really want to say something about the first part of the 2012 season, especially about my trip to Fontainebleau in the first week of March.
January and February have been dedicated to climbing in Cresciano where I Sent one of the most important lines I wanted to do, The Dagger 8B+. I had many failed tries on it and this experience was a bit stressful because I had 9 attempts where I fell at the last move so I found it hard to deal with the mental aspects after failing on the last move. I chose the beta head first and I was glad and proud to do it in this way because it represents a pure compression line with a good mix of strength, power and resistance. I crushed it in one the coldest days of this season.
I think the problem can be divided in two main sequences: the first one could be 8A/+ boulder problem characterized by a slopy rail, one sharp edge and some toe hooks I used to stay on. The second part is easier than the first, it could be 7C+/8A and features big compressions with heel hooks.
I also sent La Pelle 8A+ and La Pelle left 8A and Dreamtime Stand after the broken hold I think its 8A+. In these two months I went to Aosta one day to climb in the Arnad valley where I was psyched to try a long traverse called Alby 8A. I sent it quickly and after one hour I also sent the extension, Gabry traverse, 8B. In February I climbed one day in Chironico where I did a peculiar line 8A+ called Schlonziges Wiener Schmankerl.
Ticino is an awesome place to climb, but it was time for a bit of Bleau’s sandstone. The climbing in Font is completely different, featuring big slopers, rounded arets, technical slabs, precise body positions that make it very peculiar. I planned to go there with my friends Marco and Alice and in the beginning of March the weather seemed good enough to allow us to climb there, so we left super psyched. It’s a long journey but it passed fast as we kept talking about boulders and projects in the forest.
During this trip to Font I didn’t want to spend much time trying a hard lines or something that required lots of work. I wanted to climb a lots of cool problems although they were under my physical limit. This is a diary from our trip day by day:
After 7 hours of driving we climbed a few easy slabs in Bas Cuvier. It is always great repeating La Sans Le Mains and the neighbouring blocks near the parking.
We went back to Bas Cuvier to warm up.Alice was ready to try La Marie Rose. The first 6a in the forest climbed in 1946. She fell at the last hard move and I ended my warm up doing Hop Hop Hop, and Eliminate Game, 7B+ just to the right of La Joker. In the afternoon we moved to Cuvier Rampart and I tried Gourmandise Raccourci 8A+. After 40 min I crushed it with some help from Marco who gave me the beta for the hardest moves. The rain came in the late afternoon so we went back the camping.
The weather looked better than expected but that turned out to be an illusion. The plan was to go to Isatis, where there were enough boulders for us all. When we arrived I walked around to look for some lines that I have never seen before like for example L’arrache Coer, El Poussif, De vita beata and L’Insoutenable Légèreté de l’Autre. Unfortunately the rain came back and we had to take shelter in our car. When the rain stopped, everything was wet and humid so we decided to go to Nemours to check Ubik although it wasn’t in our tick lists. The place is amazing, the forest there is fantastic, soft moss covers the ground, there are a lot of different trees and it stands out from the other sectors. I added this to my tick list for my next trip to Font.
The wind started to blow so we moved to sector we never been at called Apremont Envers. I sent L’apparement 7C+ on second go. One of the main projects for this trip was the sit of this one. It’s an 8B and I felt that the moves on the SS added a lot and I didn’t figure out my beta so I left it unsuccessfully. We walked back towards the car and we put our pads under a traverse called Welcome to Tijuana7C. I flashed the 7B version and then the extension after few goes.
Rain again. While we waited for wind and a bit of sun, we played a poker but not a good idea as I lost big to Marco. It all turned in to a rest day for me.
I’m feeling strong well rested and psyched. We headed to Bas Cuvier where we got warmed up and I repeated some good classics like La Joker, La Conque a Droite, La Cle and Pif Paf. Marco rested and climbed some easy lines withAlice near La Marie Rose. I moved to Rampart again to try the whole line of Gourmandise. It adds two powerful moves to the Raccourci version and is a nice 8B. After figuring out the moves in only 20 min I sent it and with this my first 8B in Font although the style is not typical for Font it resembling to Swiss’ granite moves.
On my second day I passed one of the most perfect pillars in the forest; the name of the problem is T-rex assis 8A. After a long rest, about one hour, I couldn’t wait any longer to try it. I climbed it after 15 minutes of work. I think it was a perfect moment, the moves were so lovely and the holds too, it was pure and great! Probably it could be the most brilliant gem in Cuvier Rampart.
We picked up the pads and heeded to Imothep but when we arrived it started to hail…
Today we decided to go to Rocher du Cassepot. This is my favourite sector due to the landscape aspects with thick threes and very wild and isolated. It’s an almost unknown sector so we could climb in total peace with the woods.
We warmed up on Double Axel, That problem has one of the most perfect pinches I have ever held. I sent Synapses 8A after three attempts and I think that it could be a bit easy for the grade but it also is very morpho so that’s why I think it felt soft for me.
In the afternoon we went to Coquibus Roumont where I wanted to try The Island 8B+ to see if I could do the moves to see if it was worth adding in my tick list. After about half an hour I did every single move, except some feet placements in the middle. I rested and when I got back on it I could not link the moves so I left it. I’m super psyched to try and take it down on my next visit to Font this coming fall.
Today the destination was Buthiers. After a quick warm up I managed to send La Coccinelle, an 8A traverse in 10 min. We went to the sector Piscine and I tried Appartenance 7C, a perfect technical arete opened by Christian Roumégoux. My flash attempt was the best but in the end it was all in vain. Kind of a rest day with some climbing…
Day 8 was a full rest day.
The night was humid so did not start climbing until in the afternoon. In the afternoon conditions improved slightly but the sky was still cloudy so it didn’t dry up that well.
I repeated the standing start of Fata Morgana on my second go and the low start, my project, after five min. When I tried this problem last year I fell at the last hard move to go to the eye-hold which is a lovely two finger pocket. This time I felt better but the first crimp have been chipped. The same higher up where a foot hold for the standing start has been chipped as well. The problem changed and I think the standing start could be a 7C/+ and the sit start 8A.
For sure the main line on that boulder is Satan I Helvete 8B opened by Dave Graham in 2005. It is not a typical Bleau’s line. There are three or four betas to do it and the most suitable for me was the one where I used as the crucial foothold the low two-finger pocket. I had three good attempts where I almost grabbed the left crimp near the arete but I didn’t manage to keep my body strong enough to stick the move.
In the evening we moved to Cuvier and I climbed a morpho compression pillar called La Gaule 7C.Mz dear friend Marco went to Apremont where he crushed his traverse, Welcome to Tijuana, that he tried at the beginning of the week. Then he returned to Bas Cuvier and started to work on Controle Tecnique 7C+.
It was time to go back home but we couldn’t leave without climbing in the morning. Since we had some unfinished business in Bas Cuvier, we went there. We hadn’t much time and Marco wanted to use his last chances on Controle, the same with Alice on another problem. So if the time permitted I wanted to try Imothep. Marco fell again very high on Controle… As Alice and Marco where tired we moved to Imothep 8A. Now it was very hot, in fact I think it was around 20 degrees. I crushed it after five goes and I was very happy to close the trip with this one, it is the best line I sent in these 10 days.
Every time in Font has offered us beautiful gems to climb, wonderful places to stay and a great forests to watch. When I come back home from Font I feel the strong emotions the forest give me by allowing me to spend time climbing there.
Concerning climbing projects for the next fall in font, there are for sure The Island, Satan I helvete, Elephunk and many other hidden in that marvellous Forrest.
Like always I really want to say thanks to Marco, my friend of thousands climbing adventures, and to Alice for the trip and the great companionship.